Last year Rush University’s Jaime Parent noticed an opportunity for veterans in the health IT industry and began a program to connect the growing industry with veterans in need of employment. The Road Home program offers veterans the on-the-job training and education they need to prepare for a career in health IT.

It’s no wonder veterans everywhere are heading back to school to work in the health IT industry. The industry boasts a healthy 80 percent job satisfaction rate, which workers attribute to a sizable salary — the average reaching nearly $90,000. Other factors leading to  high job satisfaction are opportunities to learn new skills, flexibility, and work-life balance.

Despite how daunting a new career may seem, the health IT industry is actually fairly easy to break into. Going to school to obtain the appropriate degrees or certifications only takes a few months to a year, depending on the program you choose.

Once you’ve done that, here are some tips that can help you break into the health IT industry:

1. Look at health IT job boards.

When trying to break into a specific industry, the place to look for jobs is an industry-specific job board. Job search platforms like ours allow you to search for your desired health IT job, apply through sending a resume or with your LinkedIn, and view all job details including salary and contact information. It’s completely free, too!

2. Use your phone.

Several job search platforms have a mobile app so you can manage your job search on-the-go. This is a great tool for veterans who might not always have access to a computer, limiting job search time. Search for health IT jobs and apply in seconds with a tap on your smartphone screen.

Mobile recruitment efforts are on the rise, and with mobile, career connections happen fast. You’ll want to be sure you are always available should hiring managers reach out to you so you can reply quickly. Try it out on our mobile app available on both Apple and Android.

3. Use social media.

Social media isn’t just for connecting with friends anymore. Now, professionals everywhere are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and even Twitter to connect with hiring managers. Even if you’re feeling a little behind, there’s still time to get your social media profiles up and running.

Here are some quick tips to help get you started:

  • Secure your name on all the social media channels you wish to manage regularly. I’d recommend keeping your efforts focused with using only two or three to start.

  • Fill out your “about me” sections entirely. Don’t be shy — say you’re training for health IT or you’re seeking a career in the field.

  • Share interesting industry news and articles.

  • Join industry groups. Comment on other’s posts saying the things you find interesting about what they shared. Interact with other professionals the groups by chiming in on conversations.

  • Follow and connect with those you’re having discussions with.

Eventually, your online network will grow and you could be having interesting conversations every day! Just make sure you are consistent with your updates and interactions so your new friends don’t think you’ve disappeared after a week of no online activity.

4. Start a blog.

As a veteran, you probably have some incredible stories to tell. Share those stories with others and attract a following by starting your own blog. Sometimes, the best thing you can do while on a job search is take inventory of where you’ve been. Take all of the wisdom you’ve accrued throughout your life so far and use it to inspire others. However, be sure to keep it professional and discuss health IT industry topics frequently to show off what you know.

Post links to your blog on your social media and health IT job search profile. This will give hiring managers a chance to learn about you, your personality, and any soft or transferrable skills you have — which can make up for any lack of health IT industry experience.

5. Attend industry conferences.

As a veteran, you may have grown up in the age of face-to-face communication, unlike the kids you see with their faces in front of screens all day. If you value in-person communication more than online, you might benefit from directing your focus to attending health IT networking events.

When you go to conferences, focus on meeting and connecting with as many professionals as you can. You never know you will lead you to a job. Be sure to dress professionally, keep resumes on hand, and you can even connect exchanging information via mobile. If you do have a professional blog or use social media, invite others in person to follow you.

Keep an eye out for upcoming tech conferences like the Midwest Fall Technology Conference, which was held in Chicago last week. If you missed it, there are several more conferences coming up next year like GHIC 2015 in March and HIMSS 5 in April.

With the immense growth of the health IT, as a veteran, you can bet you’ll find many opportunities to break into the industry. You don’t need to take a minimum wage job in the service industry performing menial tasks. You can quickly find the training and tools you need to obtain a career in health IT and job satisfaction.

What are some other challenges veterans might experience in finding a job? What are some other reasons returning vets can find job satisfaction in health IT? Share with us in the comments below!

 

5 Easy Ways for Veterans to Break into the Health IT Industry by